After playing only a single game at home in recent memory, the KLP Construction Bantam A Tyees were thrilled to begin their playoffs with a pair of games at home this past weekend.
A 4-2 victory versus Powell River two weeks ago being the only game the team played at Rod Brind Amour Arena in the past seven weeks, the feelings of the entire Tyee team must have been reminiscent of Dorothy’s magical phrase in The Wizard of Oz: “There’s no place like home.”
Game one took place Saturday, Jan. 30 against the same Powell River squad that played the Tyees tough just two weeks ago.
Defenceman Matthew Ubriaco opened the scoring five minutes into the game on a low shot that beat the Kings’ goaltender.
A second goal by the defence occurred when Luka Kellerhals and Davis Frank assisted on a point shot from Brendan Almer to double the lead.
Jory Swanson scored an unassisted tally on a shot from the left faceoff circle to give Campbell River a 3-0 lead just before the half.
Powell River was able to put a puck past goaltender Jayce Hudak early in the third to make things interesting, but a quick reply by Cody Savey ended any chances of a comeback, as well as the scoring, as the Tyees skated away with an important and well-earned 4-1 victory.
The Tyees played their second game in as many days when Nanaimo came to town.
Although the Tyees dominated the majority of first period play, Tyee forward River Fahey was the only player to find the back of the net in the opening stanza.
Going against the play, the Clippers were able to knot the game up early in the second period, and forward Noah Fladager was able to regain the lead for Campbell River just prior to ice clean at the halfway point of the game.
With just over five minutes remaining in the second period, tension mounted when Nanaimo was able to find a way to tie the game for the second time, even though the ice was heavily tilted in the Tyees’ favour.
With just three minutes remaining in the second period, defenceman Bryce Narhi regained the Tyee lead after taking a pass from Ubriaco and blowing a shot past the goalie from the right point.
Just 10 seconds later, Logan Chapdelaine gave the Tyees their first two-goal lead, with that being followed up a minute later when Almer was the beneficiary of a Riley Billy pass, who then scored the team’s third goal in less than three minutes to give the Tyees what appeared to be a commanding 5-2 lead after two.
Even with Campbell River continuing to dictate play and outshooting the Clippers 31-9 after two periods, the Clippers created some tension amongst Tyee fans when Nanaimo scored on just their 10th shot early in the third period to bring the Clippers to within two.
The unrest remained until Fahey scored his second of the game with just over four minutes remaining to put the game out of reach.
Fladager also scored his second of the game during the last minute of play to close out the scoring and provide the Tyees with a convincing 7-3 victory in a game that saw Campbell River outshoot Nanaimo 43-14.
Although puckstopper Antoine Minfray didn’t face many shots, he came up big when he needed to, including a huge save on a clear-cut breakaway when the game was still in doubt.
The Tyees now prepare to leave the confines of home to play their third playoff game this Saturday afternoon in Parksville against Oceanside.
Being that the Tyees have played so many games on the road over the past two months, the Tyees should feel right at home.